2013 / Director. Nat Faxon & Jim Rash.
It really does seem like I've been saving the best films of the year for last. The credits for THE WAY WAY back are now rolling and I still have the remaining tingles fluttering their way out of my system. I'm a sucker for really good coming-of-age films - the kind that stir up emotions - and this has delivered a mighty blow to my system. It tells the story of Duncan, a 14 year old boy who is being dragged along to his mother's new boyfriend's beach house. His mother's attention is on other things and the boyfriend (Steve Carell) is a domineering asshole. Duncan is ghost. Invisible to everyone around him and on his way to severe depression. When he meets a happy-go-lucky manager of a local water-park, Owen (Sam Rockwell), he lands himself a job and suddenly finds himself in an environment that values him. Owen becomes a best friend and protector, encouraging greatness within himself and AnnaSophia Robb plays a neighbouring girl who also takes an interest in him. I admit that I write a sappy synopsis but THE WAY WAY BACK is a beautiful film. The cast is fantastic with Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb and Rob Corddry lending a strong dramatic tone to what is otherwise an amusing story of one kid's journey to the discovery of self-worth. For many years MEATBALLS has been one of my all time favourite coming-of-age films and I think that it's hugely under appreciated. THE WAY WAY BACK recalls the same sense of poignancy and inhibition. Sam Rockwell's character in the film bares a striking resemblance and purpose to Bill Murray's character in MEATBALLS and the character arc of the lead teenager takes a familiar course. A very solid film and one that I will be revisiting soon. Makes some time to check it out.